Posted On: November 30, 2009

Prion Books Sued For Copyright Infringement Over “Conan the Barbarian” Book

copyright-lawyer-book-conan-the-barbarian.jpgLos Angeles, CA – Conan Properties International, LLC filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Prion Books Ltd., Carlton Publishing Group, and HarperCollins UK for the sale of “Conan the Barbarian” book. The fictional “Conan” character was created by the late Robert E. Howard, a prolific writer of fantasy stories published in the day’s popular “pulp fiction” magazines. Plaintiff now owns all of Howard’s copyrights in the “Conan” works.

Plaintiff alleges that in May of 2009, Defendants published a book entitled “Conan the Barbarian” in the United Kingdom, which book is now also available in the United States. Defendants’ book contains stories that allegedly infringe Plaintiff’s copyrights. Plaintiff also asserts causes of action for vicarious and contributory copyright infringement. The case is Conan Properties International, LLC v. Prion Books, Ltd. et al., CV09-08369 DDP (C.D. Cal. 2009).

Posted On: November 23, 2009

Thanks For Thanksgiving Patents And Benjamin Franklin’s Loss

patent-attorney-deep-fryer-turkey-patent-1109.jpgDuring this Thanksgiving week, I would like to thank the readers of my two-cents (if it’s worth that) and intellectual property law for providing interesting – at least to me – topics to blog. How does intellectual property apply to Thanksgiving? Well, the first invention applies to how my turkey will be prepared . . . in a deep fryer of course. It may sound strange and greasy, but deep fried turkeys are moist, crispy, and delicious. U.S. Patent No. 5,896,810 covers the turkey frying apparatus that I’ve come to appreciate. After you’ve tasted a deep-fried turkey, you won’t go back to oven roasted. Also, when you realize you can cook a 14 pound turkey in about 45 minutes, your oven will thank you for going green.

Now, the next invention I will probably pass on. U.S. Patent No. D397,955 relates to a turkey decoration in general. More specifically, the invention allows you to dress up a pumpkin to look like a turkey. It’s a good thing Benjamin Franklin didn’t get his way or the pumpkin turkey may have been the national bird.

Posted On: November 18, 2009

Mixed Martial Arts Fight Over Gracie Jiu Jitsu Trademark

trademark-rorion-gracie-jiu-jitsu-trademark-infringement.jpgLos Angeles, CA – Rorion Gracie, the patriarch of the famed Gracie family from Brazil, filed a trademark infringement, Lanham Act § 43(a) unfair competition, and dilution lawsuit against Black Silver Enterprises and Un Mi Lee. Gracie is a 9th degree Red Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has been an owner of the “Gracie Jiu Jitsu” commercial endeavors since opening the first location in Southern California in 1978. In 1997, Plaintiff’s Gracie Gear trademark was registered with the USPTO for use on clothing and related merchandise. On September 20, 2005, Plaintiff received another registration for the mark Gracie for use on clothing.

Ten days after the Gracie trademark registered, Defendant Black Silver filed an application with the USPTO to register its GRACIE mark for use on clothing. The USPTO issued an Office Action refusing to register Black Silver’s proposed mark due to a likelihood of confusion with Plaintiff’s registered trademarks. In October of 2006, Defendant filed petitions to cancel Plaintiff’s trademarks at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), which proceedings are still continuing. Plaintiff alleges that in mid-2009 Defendants demanded payment of $250,000 as a license fee to use the Gracie trademark. As a result, Plaintiff filed the instant action. The case is Rorion Gracie v. Black Silver Enterprises, Inc. et al., CV 09-8273 GW (C.D. Cal. 2009).

Posted On: November 16, 2009

Breakdown Services Sues Netxplosion Entertainment For Copyright Infringement

copyright-attorney-entertainment-breakdowns.bmpLos Angeles, CA – Breakdown Services, Ltd. prepares script analyses and summaries, commonly known as “breakdowns,” to the entertainment community. The breakdowns are distributed via the Internet to authorized theatrical and other talent agencies and management companies. Plaintiff has applied for copyright registration of the material and alleges that all of the breakdowns prominently display the following warning: “This confidential information is the property of Breakdown Services, Ltd. – DO NOT COPY!!!”

Netxplosion is accused of copying Plaintiff’s breakdowns in their entirety and infringing Plaintiff’s copyrights by selling unauthorized copies of the breakdowns. Plaintiff allegedly demanded that Defendants cease infringing on Plaintiff’s works, but Defendants continued to willfully and knowingly copy Plaintiff’s breakdown. The case is Breakdown Services, Ltd. v. Netxplosion et al., CV09-8179 DSF (C.D. Cal. 2009).

Posted On: November 10, 2009

Jewelry Design Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Filed Over Humpback Whale Earrings

copyright-lawyer-jewelry-attorney-humpbacks-earrings.jpgLos Angeles, CA – Jewelry designer David Rasnick sued Jewelry and Minerals of Las Vegas for copyright infringement. Rasnick has been designing jewelry for over 20 years and designed a teardrop shaped humpback whale loop earring. Rasnick registered the work with the Copyright Office on May 22, 1989. Rasnick alleges that “Defendant has sold unauthorized and infringing copies of the humpback whale earring, which bear a design that is substantially similar to the humpback whale earring at retail, at wholesale and through retailers.” Rasnick alleges that his damages cannot yet be determined and he may elect between the profits generated by the defendant or statutory damages under 17 U.S.C. § 504. Plaintiff also requests that the damages be enhanced because the Defendant’s alleged infringement is willful and intentional. Plaintiff also requests his attorneys’ fees and other costs pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 505. The case is David Rasnick v. Jewelry and Minerals of Las Vegas, CV09-08072 MMM (C.D. Cal. 2009).

Posted On: November 5, 2009

Breach of Settlement Agreement, and Trademark and Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Filed Against Affliction Clothing

trademark-lawyer-copyright-lawsuit-settlement-agreement-chrome-hearts.jpgLos Angeles, CA – Chrome Hearts, LLC sued clothing and accessories designer Affliction, Inc. for trademark infringement, Lanham Act § 43(a) unfair competition, copyright infringement, and breach of settlement agreement. Chrome Hearts is also in the clothing and accessories business and has registered the “CH Plus” design trademark – depicted herein – with the USPTO for use on several goods and services, including clothing and headwear. Chrome Hearts has also obtained a copyright registration for the cross design as used on jewelry.

In March of 2009, Plaintiff alleges that it discovered Affliction was selling and distributing headwear that had a confusingly similar CH PLUS design trademark. But instead of filing a lawsuit, the parties entered into a settlement agreement in which Affliction agreed to cease and desist from using the CH Plus design mark. In October of 2009, however, Chrome Hearts allegedly discovered that Affliction had not ceased its use of the CH Plus design mark and was continuing to sell products under the infringing mark. The case is Chrome Hearts, LLC v. Affliction, Inc. , CV 09-7780 AHM (C.D. Cal. 2009).

Posted On: November 2, 2009

Software Copyright Infringement And Breach Of License Agreement Lawsuit Filed Against Directv

software-copyright-attorney-copyright-license-quest-directv.jpgSanta Ana, CA – Quest Software, Inc. sued DIRECTV Operations, LLC for copyright infringement and breach of software license agreement. Quest creates smart systems management software that allow its customers to detect, diagnose to the root cause, and resolve performance and availability problems in their information technology environment. The software is sold under the Foglight trademark and all of the different versions of the Foglight software are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Quest contends that in December of 2002, Directv signed a software license agreement for the Foglight Server, Foglight Base, and Foglight Siebel software. On April 29, 2005, the parties allegedly executed an agreement for additional licenses for the software products. In 2006, the parties’ representatives met to convert the licenses from server-based Windows NT to CPU-based licenses that could be used on any operating system, including UNIX. Before making the conversion, however, Quest sought to confirm that DIRECTV was in compliance with the license agreement.

In February of 2008, Quest received a statement of work from DIRECTV that allegedly showed significant over-deployment of the Foglight products. According to Quest’s calculations, DIRECTV owes $2,947,450 in licensing fees for the alleged over-deployment of the software. Over the next several months, the parties met to discuss the alleged over-deployment and additional reports were produced by DIRECTV. One of those reports allegedly showed that DIRECTV had been using the Foglight products on non-Windows NT operating systems in further breach of the license agreement. As a result, the conversion process did not take place.

Quest alleges that in December of 2008 a new issue arose when the “maintenance services” portion of the agreement automatically renewed; however, DIRECTV has allegedly failed to make the required payment of $196,356.31 therefor. Further, in early 2009, DIRECTV allegedly uninstalled Quest’s software from its servers and issued a new report claiming that there was no over-deployment of the software. Thus, this lawsuit followed. The case is Quest Software, Inc. v. DIRECTV Operations, LLC, SACV09-01232 JVS (C.D. Cal. 2009).